I recently watched a presentation on the topic of biomimicry – where we can take inspiration from nature in our own processes and materials in order to resolve problems. When you think about it we have been doing this for years, like being inspired by birds to fly! But more recently it’s being used to try and improve our sustainability by learning from species that have evolved to interact with their natural environment in a sustainable way. They primarily do this to ensure the survival of their genetics by taking care of the place that will take care of their offspring.
I found the examples to be really fascinating, like beetles that can extract water from fog opposed to needing it to rain and butterflies that appear to be coloured but actually use very clever surface structures to reflect the light so the eye sees a transparent surface as coloured! You can imagine how engineers and scientists are trying to capture these adaptations for our use to reduce our dependence on finite materials and improve our sustainability. To find out more have a look at Janine Benyus’s presentation at www.biomimicry.net. If anyone has direct experience of using biomimicry in their industry please let me know, I would love to learn more.